Special Reports

Bassam ‘Sam’ Alnoubani: From Sonic to business consultant

In 1991, Bassam “Sam” Alnoubani, born in Kuwait, had a dream job as a young accountant for a group of Middle Eastern investors.

The investors from Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt bought land in Jordan and construction plans had been drawn up for a massive manufacturing plant for veterinary medical supplies, the first of its kind in the region.

But the conflict in the Middle East forced them to abandon the project, leaving Alnoubani, then 26, without a job.

“I was determined to continue in the business field, but I couldn’t stay there,” Alnoubani said.

So he decided his best opportunity was in the United States. He landed in New York, eventually moved to Texas and started from scratch. He couldn’t find a job in accounting, so he worked at Sonic.

“My first job, I started working at the Sonic restaurant, cooking hamburgers and cleaning,” Alnoubani said. “Then I moved and opened my first restaurant my own self after three months, and I sold it. Then after that, I moved to work in the gas station business for my friends, and while I’m working at the gas station, there I started my first business in accounting.”

Alnoubani said he started taking on accounts and doing taxes while still working at the gas station.

“It was hard, because I had no contacts,” Alnoubani said.

Meanwhile, he took community college business classes.

His American dream began to take shape in 1993, when he established International Accounting Service, now known as I.A.S., a group that provides tax and business consultation for companies.

“At first, I just went door to door. Bonding had to be developed,” he said. “Once one business hired me, it was just through word of mouth about what I could do for other businesses.”

This year, Alnoubani and his group processed more than 1,500 tax returns for residents who have relatives all over the world, from Latin America to the Middle East and from Vietnam to Pakistan.

Alnoubani plans to stay.

“I believe in this country,” he said. “I’m raising my children here.”

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr